Software Learning Tools for the Falcon-A Processor

A. Ali, M. Baig, and A. Nisar (Pakistan)

Keywords

RISC, Computer Architecture, Processor Design, CAL The FALCONA Processor

Abstract

FALCON stands for First Architecture in Learning Computer Organization and Networks. It is a "RISC-like" general-purpose processor that has been successfully used as a teaching aid in various Computer Architecture courses at a number of well-known Pakistani universities, including UET, Lahore and LUMS. Although the FALCON is a simple machine, yet is powerful enough to explain a variety of fundamental issues and concepts in the Computer Architecture area. This paper discusses the details of a special version of the FALCON called the FALCON-A. FALCON-A will serve as a comprehensive teaching aid and tool for use in all future courses developed according to the ACM/IEEE CC2001 guidelines for computing curricula [1]. In particular, it will be useful for the AR1, AR3, AR4, AR6 and AR8 modules in the Architecture and Organization (AR) part of the Computer Science and Computer Engineering curricula. The ISA details of the FALCON-A, have been described along with its formal description using the Register Transfer Language (RTL). The paper focuses on the software tools which include an assembler and a simulator, which have been designed and developed specifically for the FALCON-A. These tools are standalone desktop applications and are intended for demonstrating concepts of instruction decoding, instruction interpretation and instruction execution to the students.

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